04:12PM, Thursday 08 August 2019
Councillors were unanimous in opposing an application for 150 houses in Holyport on Tuesday.
A Maidenhead area development management panel voted against the plans but the decision lies out of the council’s hands – final determination will be made at a public inquiry later this year.
Beaulieu Homes Southern Limited has submitted three plans for the site in Lodge Farm in Ascot Road since December 2017.
Until this week, the plans have never been heard at panel, although the council has said it has been working with the developers during this time.
Beaulieu Homes Southern Limited has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate and an inquiry is due to take place because the council did not make a decision in time.
The developer’s plans for the site also include provision of a doctors’ surgery with 25 parking spaces, community park, two grass football pitches and allotments.
At Tuesday’s meeting, councillors were asked to vote as they would have done ‘had this been determined at a planning panel’ and no public inquiry set to take place .
Christine Ellera, major projects planning consultant for the Royal Borough, said the level of harm the development would cause to the greenbelt is ‘very substantial harm, the highest level of harm’.
Beaulieu Homes put forward very special circumstances that included 30 per cent affordable housing, a provision of a doctors’ surgery and the ‘Holyport community parkland’.
Ms Ellera said these reasons are ‘not considered to amount to a case which substantially outweighs this clear harm caused’.
In addition to the greenbelt, other reasons for the recommendation for refusal included erosion and impact on the Holyport conservation area and highways issues.
The absence of a legal agreement securing the affordable housing and the necessary infrastructure to make the development acceptable were also put forward as reasons.
In the meeting, Cllr Leo Walters (Con, Bray) said: “If successful, it would inevitably undermine the whole of the council’s greenbelt and conservation policies, it could result in a free-for-all to build everywhere and anywhere.
“Anything that happens here will apply and be a precedent for the rest of the Royal Borough.”
He added: “Does anybody in their wildest dreams think 150 houses are going to improve or enhance the conservation area?”
Councillors voted unanimously to support the planning officer’s recommendations which was a welcome decision for about 40 members of the public who attended the meeting.
The inquiry will take place from October 22-25 and a decision will be made by December 16.
Top Ten Articles